6 Eco-Friendly Startups That Show Going Green is Good for Business
Profit doesn’t need to come before planet. These earth-kind enterprises show us how.
Stats say that 66% of consumers want brands to be involved in social and political issues. Just take a look at Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands which are currently outperforming its wider product portfolio. And a government analysis, released last week, also shows that 6 of the 12 most valuable technology startups in the UK are focused on the green economy. These “impact unicorns” – startup companies that have rapidly grown to be worth over $1 billion and are focused on tackling major environmental or social challenges – have won £2 billion in investment over the past year.
Clearly, sustainability isn’t just good for the climate. it’s good for business too.
Luckily for us, around the world, entrepreneurs are tackling climate change concerns head-on by pioneering products, services, and climate action resources through eco-friendly startups. From micropiles to wave power, these groundbreaking green startups have grown from sustainability enthusiasts to sustainability entrepreneurs.
1. Biome Makers
According to the United Nations, soil erosion is taking place at the rate of one soccer field every 5 seconds. So, improving soil health is an essential step towards a more sustainable future. San Francisco biotech startup Biome Makers is dedicated to improving world soil health, one farm at a time. Detailed reporting and analytics provide farmers with soil fertility, biodiversity, and health stats to help them make informed, impactful changes. Plus, implementing AI technology with their expertise in agronomy (the science of soil management and crop production), Biome Makers have created a virtual assistant to help farmers increase crop yields and quality.
2. Subsea Micropiles
Subsea micropiles. They sound painful and a bit embarrassing. In fact, they are an essential way of tethering floating structures – think offshore buildings, pipelines, and vessels – in challenging environments. This Irish engineering startup team has developed an innovative, lower cost, and – significantly – more sustainable approach to marine foundation and anchorage solutions. Inspired by natural biological systems such as tree root structures, their multiple piles cause minimal seabed disturbances and zero waste discharge compared with conventional pilling. Plus, other benefits include reduced vessel traffic and GHG emissions, as well as siting away from sensitive marine habitats.
Don’t just hug a tree. Now – thanks to this French startup – you can adopt one. Collectively, the forests of the world absorb nearly 8 billion metric tons of carbon annually. Without these carbon sinks, the planet will not be able to meet the Paris Agreement targets of keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5C by the end of the century. Whilst a landmark COP26 pledge saw leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests promised to halt and reverse deforestation, EcoTree allows individuals and companies to invest in forests owned by the company. When a tree has reached its cutting age, the owner receives exploitation income – 2% per year. The goal is to help preserve and protect trees through sustainable forestry. With a strong social media presence spreading the sustainability word, as of 2020, over 45,000 individuals had used the platform to support the planting or maintenance of 1 million trees in total.
One of the key goals of COP15 – the UN biodiversity summit that took place in October – was to implement nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. At the intersection of nature-based systems and artificial intelligence, you’ll find eco-startup NatureDots. AquaNurch, a system developed by NatureDots, uses AI to create more sustainable fisheries with higher yields for farmers in vulnerable areas. Founded in 2018 by Mohammad Aatish Khan and Snehal Verma, this New Delhi-based startup aims to for an environmentally friendly economy through nature-based and tech-driven solutions. So far, their data indicates 50% increased fish production with 75% improved water quality and 20% reduced input.
5. Cheesecake Energy
This UK startup isn’t backward about coming forward. Cheesecake Energy says it’s developed the world’s greenest energy storage technology. This not only lowers the cost of medium to long-duration energy storage but also turns renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – into reliable, on-demand power. “eTanker” uses thermal energy storage and compressed air to achieve costs that are 30-40% lower than that of the cheapest batteries currently available. It does this by repurposing industrial components from existing automotive, oil, and gas equipment. With a commitment to innovation and a greener, cleaner planet, who wouldn’t want a slice of this cheesecake?
According to International Energy Agency data, the world has no hope of staying within 1.5C of global heating replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy sources. Whilst COP26’s commitment was to phase down – rather than phase out – coal, more countries are seeking to decarbonise their energy supplies using ocean power. Please step forward, C-Power. This US startup is a worldwide leader in wave energy systems. Its goal? To deliver reliable, cost-effective energy generation and storage. The World Energy Council estimates that 10% of worldwide electricity demand could be met by harvesting ocean energy. Moreover, the US Department of Energy reports that waves could power over 100 million homes each year. Easy to transport and deploy, offshore wave energy farms offer predictability and proximity. Afterall, 50% of the world’s population lives near an ocean. Even better, they also offer consistency – waves are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!